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May 13, 2006

Net Neutrality and the Blogad

-- by Dave Johnson

There's an ad in the right column that reads "Don't Regulate the Internet." This ad comes from the telecoms/internet service providers who want to be able to decide which websites - and blogs - they will let you see. I initially rejected the ad, until I was reminded that I complain when TV networks reject ads because they disagree with the viewpoint. So I decided to take ATT's money -- and let you know what they're up to. I also linked to MoveOn's campaign, and put up a free Save the Internet ad. Go visit them.

Matt Stoller writes about this,

This time it's a negative hit piece, backed by a massive blogad campaign. The telcos, so you know, are spending millions of dollars a week on this fight. This ad is an example of it, repeating the lie that the government had no role in the internet's success and that bloggers are a bunch of irresponsible rabble.

... The ad makes a couple of claims. One, that web site operators don't pay for the internet. That is a lie. They pay massive sums of money for bandwidth, on the order of $10 billion last year alone. So does the public in tax subsidies for telecom companies, perhaps as high as $200 billion over the years (though it's hard to tell with all the mergers and weird accounting). Yes, that you read that right. Two, they claim they have never degraded a web site or service. Of course, executives for these companies are on record discussing their plans to do precisely that. The telco sponsored legislation would strip the FCC from being able to deal with degraded service or blocked web sites. Three, the telecom companies claim that net neutrality means intrusive government regulation. This claim is a bit harder to unpack, but it's worth following me here since what they are saying is in fact 180 degrees from the truth.

Go read the rest.

Posted by Dave Johnson at May 13, 2006 11:09 AM

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Comments

"This ad comes from the telecoms/internet service providers who want to be able to decide which websites - and blogs - they will let you see."

No, no, no. This is the worst kind of pro-net neutrality propaganda, and you've bought it hook line and sinker.

Not liking the telcos is one thing, fine. But what they're trying to do is set up tiered access, so they can move voice and phone faster.

Relative to the fastlane, sure, relatively slower. But still absolutely faster.

Before you jump on this crusade, make sure you have your facts straight.

Posted by: ghoti06 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 7:20 AM

This deregulation will allow them to decide which websites you and I can see. That's part of the package.

It's being SOLD as allowing faster voice, but they are removing the regulations that prevent them from blocking my site and DailyKos, etc.

Since they deregulated TV and radio, unions voices are banned, anti-war voices are banned, atii-Bush voices are mocked. ANYTYHING anti-corporate is blocked. We can't let them do that to the internet as well - it's all we have left.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 8:47 AM

Sorry, that's really paranoid, maybe even a bit too self-important, and it totally misses the incentives for businesses like this.

It's like saying because just because Sony *could* make its Blu-Rays so that Disney and Time Warner movies won't play on next gen DVDs, that they actually *will*. That would be terrible business.

Same deal for you, dKos and the whole netroots. They want your business. It doesn't make any sense for them to alienate you. Is it because Big Business hates the Left? Do they really? Big Business is apolitical. The Left has dollars, too.

Posted by: ghoti06 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 10:25 AM

Sorry, this is like saying that because the 5 or 6 large corporations that control almost all of the news that Americans recieve *could" keep labor and Progressives and minorities and Democrats, etc. off the air they *will*. This would be terrible business.

Oh, wait, they *DO* do that.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 1:14 PM

Hey, Donahue got a shot, didn't he?

But speaking of today, you don't think Keith Olbermann is on the right (that is, left) side of most issues? How about Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert? Are they nothing?

MSNBC really is better than it gets credit for. Sure, Matthews is nobody's idea of a good Democrat, but he DOES put Katrina Vandenheuvel on the air.

And so does Russert, or he did recently.

The problem here is that the right has had more practice at being professional partisan hacks. Liberals have been going to journalism school and writing real news, not garbage political columns.

When a progressive pundit catches on and brings in audiences, just watch the imitators come running.

Besides, it's one thing to just exclude pundits they think are "too out there" and another thing to actually crush dissent in a noticeable and public way. I think even the wingnuts would stand up if the progressive bloggers got punished by big business. At least enough of them would.

My main point again is, I don't think you should love the telcos and I don't think your going to change your mind. But you've made the least rational assumptions here. The scenario describe is not what's on the table.

Posted by: ghoti06 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 1:53 PM

Well you made my point for me, thank you.

Donahue was told not to put liberals on the air, and was cancelled even though he was the #1 show on the network at the time!

Let's not hand the big corporations the same power to do this on the internet. Let's KEEP regulations that require them to put all websites on an equal footing. The blogosphere is all we have left.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 1:59 PM

Dave, Donahue was not my only point. I listed several others, no? The right has been playing hack for years. The left is catching up. It's not a conspiracy.

And besides, as the law is now, the corporations could do this right this very minute if they wanted. But they don't. Assuming the net neutrality laws don't pass, I think you'll feel kinda foolish in six months.

If you even remember this whole thing.

Posted by: ghoti06 [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2006 3:00 PM

Don't you find the claim that the only way to protect innovation is to restrict it a little bass-ackwards? Regulating the internet is just a Pandora's Box waiting to be opened. And I'm a little over the argument that NN is about protecting the "little guy" what with moveon.org and google behind the scare tactics.

Posted by: gull [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 16, 2006 4:10 PM

"Two, they claim they have never degraded a web site or service. Of course, executives for these companies are on record discussing their plans to do precisely that."

Can you provide any links to support this statement? I've been following this issue closely for the last few weeks, and I haven't been able to find documented evidence of telecom executives saying any such thing. I wouldn't put it past them (but it would be a foolish thing to go on the record saying).

In the end, the telecoms may WANT to slow or block service, but as soon as they do, I suspect that consumers will go ballistic. Regulation isn't necessary; the consumer dollar has more power over corporate practices than legislation.

Posted by: watcher [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 16, 2006 5:24 PM

Regulation is not necessary for something that may or may not exist. Talk about government bureaucracy. Why cant they leave the internet as it is. Google, et al should have to pay for premium listing – just as we as consumers pay for premium services.

Posted by: Net Chick [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 4:37 PM

I've read a lot on this issue and I can see that net neutrality proponenets, though their heart is in the right place, have just lost their minds. Tiered access is the future of the internet, preventing that would limit growth and destroy innovation.

Posted by: AJ Carey [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 6:54 PM

The telcos don't seem like they are trying to control the internet. As I have heard, they want their own private networks that use their new video and telephone services online. There is no proof that a tiered internet like this would cause any problems for website owners. The government does not need to solve this issue. The companies and the consumers will solve any problems that come about.

Posted by: MRT [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 8:26 PM

The telcos don't seem like they are trying to control the internet. As I have heard, they want their own private networks that use their new video and telephone services online. There is no proof that a tiered internet like this would cause any problems for website owners. The government does not need to solve this issue. The companies and the consumers will solve any problems that come about.

Posted by: MRT [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 8:26 PM

Readers - I can't verify whether these anti-regulation posts are from the same person or not. If not, it might show the kind of money being put into this campaign to simulate "grassroots."

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 17, 2006 8:57 PM

This is absolutely not an issue to put in the hands of congress. Consumers should have the final say as they will be the ones paying the price.

Posted by: Katie [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 18, 2006 6:35 AM

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